Monday, April 23, 2007

Nights again

I'm on day 3 of another week of nights (my second in 8 weeks). This is due to my place on the rota changing when I changed jobs. This sucks big time. I've been kept busy so far. Thankfully it has been cold, wet and dull during the days so my sleep has been ok. I hope it stays like this until the weekend.

The good thing is, when I finish these nights, I don't have any more until at least August.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Wire - season 2

I finished watching the DVD yesterday and it's great. It's all about how good men can do bad things while they try to be good. Bad men just seem to do bad things.

My favourite character is Omar who is a homosexual African-American sociopathic mass-murderer who lives by robbing drug dealers. Despite his many flaws he does exhibit some morals.

Watching this show is bad for you. TV rots your brain but The Wire is brilliant.

obscure music news

I like obscure music. Mostly so I can feel superior to other people. It makes me think I'm cool. I've found a website for people like me.

check it out


obviously all the really cool people don't like this site cos it's just not cool

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut is dead

It was an amazing bummer this morning to hear that Kurt Vonnegut had died this morning. I heard the news on radio 4's today show. He was a brilliant writer. I read most of his books as a teenager. I wrote a dissertation on Slaughterhouse 5 for one of my English courses. His prose was always crystal clear and his words were always truly inspiring.

He was a great man.

RIP Mr Vonnegut

You all should go out and read his books now

The Wire - some of the best TV I have ever seen

I have to admit that I have been late discovering this American TV show. I first heard of the Wire in an interview with some American rock star on the back page of the NME. I can't remember exactly who the rock star was but he was either in a good band or he listened to some music I like so I trusted his opinion. He said that 'season 3 of the wire was the best TV show that he had ever seen'. That sparked my interest.

I had never heard of The wire.

I looked it up on wikipaedia and it sounded good. I didn't want to pay too much for the DVD so I ordered it over some dodgy bastard on ebay who took 2 months to post me my box set (direct from amazon - cheeky cunt).

I didn't watch it straight away. My initial buzz of interest had died down. I was on annual leave last week, just bumming around, and I started to watch it on Sunday. It's fucking brilliant.

The series is set in Baltimore. It revolves around the police investigation of some drug dealers in a ghetto. I know that sounds pretty boring but the series is as good as the Sopranos. The plot is unpredictable with more twists and turns than any rollercoaster. The camera work is mainly from a single camera bringing the viewer into the action. The only music in the series is from boom boxes and car radios making the viewing experience more realistic. It's great.

The series was written by a former baltimore police officer and a journalist. Many of the plot elements are based on their real experiences. This is grim and gritty television but it's possibly as addictive as the cheap heroin sold by the drug dealers on the show.

check it out


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Library thing

I have discovered a new internet toy - library thing. This website lets you catalogue your books and allows other users to view your home library. It's mildly amusing.

Check out my library at

Believe me, I have many more books than this


Sunday, April 08, 2007

The interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld

The fact that this book was recommended by 'Richard and Judy's book club' did not put me off too much. The sepia tinged photograph on the cover and the blurb on the back describing this story of Sigmund Freud becoming involved in a murder investigation in turn of the century New York was enough to make me part with my cash and give this book a chance.

The book is an easy read in the stlye of the Da Vinci Code. It weaves historical figures including Freud and Jung with a fictional murderer. Jed Rubenfeld, the author, is a Professor of Law at Yale University and once wrote an undergraduate thesis on Freud so he knows his subject. Case histories from the published works of Freud are adapted into the story to good effect.

I enjoyed the book and it has encouraged me to go out and pick up copies of 'Freud for dummies' and 'Introducing Jung' which I am now enjoying. I can see this book becoming a shitty hollywood blockbuster at some point.

A good book for a beach.

Wedding bands

Wedding bands are shit.

Well, not all of them. Just the one I saw tonight. Backing tape, incompetent guitarist. Vocals too quiet to hear. Poor choice of songs.

Shite. Shite. Shite.

Probably cost a grand.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

My guitar fetish

I have an admission to make. I'm an addict. I'm addicted to spending money on useless shite. CDs, comic books, DVDs, neurology text books and guitars. Guitars is the biggie. I own six (or eight) guitars.

What makes this addiciton worse is the fact that I hardly ever play guitar now. I was never very good anyway but now I work so much that I can go for several months at a time without even lifting a guitar. Most of the time I'm just too stressed and tired to pick up an instrument and I'm lucky if I manage to play with my friends more than once every six months.

My week of annual leave has been good because I've had time over the past couple of days to just sit down and play. I've tried to learn some songs by Neutral Milk Hotel and I've been relearning old favourites by Husker Du and the Violent Femmes. I've also been playing old songs that I wrote years ago and I've even tried to write some new stuff. It's great.

I've always had a dream that someday, when I can afford my own house, I would set up a room with a four-track tape recorder, an organ and a computer and just sit and record music when I get the notion. I know that in many ways this is just an adolescent fantasy but I earn a decent wage so I may be able to do that someday. However, that does not mean that any of the music I make will ever be any good....

My favourite guitars are Fenders. I have several; a 1978 solid body anniversary Stratocaster that is rare and worth a bit; a thinline Telecaster reissue with humbucker; a sixites Jazz bass that I found in a pawn shop, a cheap fender acoustic and two nice cheap Fender/squire copies.
The copies are pretty good - a solid body Telecaster and a Jagmaster (which is a combination of a Jazzmaster and a Jaguar). I also own two very cheap, very shit bass guitars. One is in pieces at the bottom of the cupboard in my bedroon at my parents house and the other is in a friends house somewhere.

It would be difficult to pick a favourite instrument. I love them all for different reasons and I have good memories of all of my guitars. Memories of gigs I've played, songs I've written and places I've been. I would like to keep them all for as long as I can.

In the future I will try and make more time to make music. It's good for the soul. I advise everyone to try. It doesn't matter if you are crap as long as you are loud and having fun. Make your own noise, don't try to copy anyone else.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

PACES marks

I've picked a brilliant week to take my annual leave. The weather is great, the sky is clear and the sun is shining. It's difficult to believe I'm in Scotland. The Jesus and Mary Chain wrote 'April Skies' about this place.

Anyhow, the point of my post. My formal letter from the Royal College of Physicians arrived to tell me that I have passed PACES and gained the MRCP. Really.

My final score was 47 out of 56 while the pass mark was 41. When I look at the breakdown of marks there was a real degree of difference between the markers. Clinical exams are subjective and you always get 'hawks' who mark harshly, 'doves' who mark generously and 'smiling assassins' who are nice to you while they stab you in the back.

I guess my mark represents a fair pass although I am not sure that I deserved to pass. I felt that the cases were too easy. I made some big mistakes in the exam although I guess I was able to compensate for those mistakes in other areas. I enjoyed the exam experience and I had good fun on the day. I always thought that post-graduate exams in medicine were something to be feared and should really challange a candidate. To be honest, I had more challenging exams at medical school which I felt pushed me more. I have probably learned a lot since medical school and grown as a doctor. It is hard to appreciate such growth when you are busy working all the time.

I enjoy teaching. I always have. Teaching medical students or junior doctors is one of the best bits of the job. I guess that I have high expectations as a teacher. I ask difficult questions and I always try to push students. I guess I always come across as a 'hawk' but I do enjoy it. I always feel that I have learned more when my teachers have pushed me and shown an interest in me as opposed to when they have been disinterested. I hope I get more time to teach in the future.

My marksheet was accompanied by booklets from the various Royal Colleges advertising the benefits of joining (i.e paying a subscription every year). They own nice old buildings in Edinburgh, London and Glasgow and often offer educational meetings and accomodation. My main motivation for joining is to sit on a leather sofa and smoke cigars whilst pretending to be Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. It's all very 'stonecutters'.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Fulborn Teversham - live at the 13th note, glasgow

Third time lucky I hope. The internet ate my last two attempts at this post.

I was lucky to hear about this gig. It was low key with very little advertising. I only found out about it in a mailing list email from the 13th note/miso club.

Fulborn Teversham are another spin-off band from the Acoustic Ladyland/Polar Bear collective revolving around Seb Roachford and Pete Wareham. They are a bit more low-fi with a more punky/Slits style soul guided by the vocals of Alice Grant.

This was a value for money night. Our tickets only cost us £4 each to see a 3 band bill. The first group was Quack Quack an instumental act from Leeds. They were pretty rocking in a keyboard way. They reminded me of Neu or Can with a heavier sound. My friend and I were both so impressed with the show that we parted with six quid each for a copy of their CD. Sadly it was a bit weedy with a thin sound that did not match their live meety goodness. They need a dose of Steve Albini.

Fulborn Teversham themselves were great. I bought their CD off the Pickled Egg website a few weeks ago and I've listened to it a few times. It isn't as punchy as Skinny Grin or Last Chance Disco by Acoustic Ladyland but it's still rather good. I love Alice Grant's vocals. I even made a half-assed attempt to chat her up at the end of their set. I felt dirty. I am a groupie.

The set kicked ass. The band sounded much better live than on CD. We were standing about a metre away from Wareham as he played sax and it was stunning. Great set of lungs. Roachford is an amazing drummer. The crowd was screaming for more as the band were forced to play a truncated set due to the show starting late and a curfew.

Pit et Pat had the thankless task of closing the night. The 3 piece from Chicago had some interesting sounds and some OK songs but they just did not hold my attention like the other two bands.

Acoustic Ladyland are meant to be playing somewhere this month. See them if you can but I have a bad feeling I'm on nights.

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